First tango in Graz

“Police are not treating the case as foul play” I read in an online newspaper. Foul play somehow amused me. I hadn’t come across the expression for a long time. It reeks of Sherlock Holmes. From Sherlock to Shylock and the pound of flesh no-one wants to pay.

In Shakespeare I find:
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Was that allowed, even in His day? Is there a name for writing in a mixture of two or more languages?

Marseille turned out to be an astonishing city, with lots of shops and sea air. In parts it seems quite similar to Paris, but with people who give the impression they don’t mind you being there.

The film festival was a wondrous mixture of pellicules. Some were moving, some left me indifferent and some made me want to vaporise the author with a Martian heat ray. I can be quite categorical at times. If I don’t like something I tend to think it shouldn’t be allowed to exist, until I remember that people can have different tastes and mine doesn’t necessarily hold good for the known universe.

I was laughing with the team about the fact that the previous year no fewer than two out of the four films whose subtitles I converted into English had very long sequences of spiders playing with flies stuck in their web – an apt metaphor for the subtitle translator, thought I. The audience is free to stand up and walk out of the cinema, but the translator has to watch every frame. Just as we are sometimes the only people who REALLY read what we are translating because translation requires a grasp, a take on what is intended. Skimming doesn’t cut it.

English subtitles are required for the films entered in the international competition. The format was two lines of 35 characters each. It’s not a question of straight forward translation because the eye reads at a slower pace than the ear deciphers so the words have to be summarised if there is a lot of dialogue.

Naples is the last city
to hang out sheets on balconies.

There was washing on the balconies opposite my town centre hotel window. We subtitlers discussed this and someone said there were gated communities in America where hanging washing outside is prohibited.

tabula rasa. Guenon – this is a female monkey and a French surname but I could not establish a connection between the two.

Imbroglio - This word came to mind as im-brogue-lio but in fact the “g” is not supposed to be pronounced.
“Word History: The history of today's word has been through a bit of an imbroglio itself. It was borrowed recently from Italian. It is related semantically to embroil, taken from the French embrouiller "to tangle, confuse", a cousin of Italian imbroglio. In fact, in Old English, broil meant "to brawl". It only began to surrender that meaning in Middle English when French brûler "to burn" was borrowed and converted into broil, now with its current sense of baking.”

In primary school my two problem words were foliage – I picked it up as foilage and couldn’t get rid of the pronunciation for a while – and rogue – which I imagined was pronounced “rogg-ewe” until I heard it spoken for the first time at the headmaster’s daughter’s birthday party and realised I was very wrong.

The headmaster taught me to fold a letter.

There was a film about pigs flying and the French translator was flummoxed – quand les poules auront des dents is the rough equivalent. And there was a brilliant title for the narcissist, a lady who had stuck a camera down her throat to film her vocal chords and called the film something like "pictures of my voice going round in my head".

There was tango in front of the Opera House and on Tuesday nights tango in the alley in front of the Gymnase Theatre. The shoes are absolutely fascinating… I tried to draw them - the result was painful.

When I recently went to visit Sylvia in Graz, she took me to her tango club, and I spent a pleasant evening foot spotting – ankle spotting. Dietmar suddenly announced that the music had slowed down and I could try, and before I knew it I was “walking” a tango. It is a great feeling. The people in the Graz club travel to cities like Berlin or Barcelona to tango in the street.

Coincidentally, today, Thomas, who set off from Lombez with Phebus to walk sur les traces du rideau de fer is at Sylvia’s house in Graz.


Rush job...

My analyst has erected gateposts to divert the traffic in front of her house off her lawn. I feel good about her re-defining her limits and protecting her patch. We both enjoy her garden. Sometimes I think I feel good about any kind of positive change.

This is a field not far from my house, which I discovered when I was out walking last Thursday. It is said to be “en jachère fleurie” – floral fallow?

I had to translate “audition” in the legal sense, which in English is “hearing”.

It made me think of the musical sense of audition which I suppose is “casting” in French.

Much as I would love to see myself as “good-natured” I have to admit when I try to do too many things at once I become churlish.

I like to take my time over blog posts, and tend to put off writing till I have a reasonable space of time to spend putting them together. However, the world is speeding up, things are becoming crazy, it is very hot, I have a l_o_t of work to do, last night there was a French Canadian storyteller in Lombez, Robert 7 Crows (who says Crow = Corneille and Corbeau = Raven… Mmm. For me, corbeau has always been crow but I have no time to check this ...) On Saturday night I’ll be singing (my workshop has a 6 minute slot) at the end of year extravaganza of Music’Halle and the next day it seems I’ll be off to Marseilles for a week on "business". (nudge nudge wink wink).

so this one is rushed.

Went to the seaside this weekend and when we got to Gruissan we found by sheer coincidence there was a vernissage of an exhibition containing a painting of Françoise. (Exhibition of paintings by Emma Boutin). So here is a very serendipitous snapshot of the subject having stepped out of the frame.